Why Salespeople get such a Bad Reputation

“You are in Sales?” she said will a look of contempt bordering on disgust on her face. I was introducing myself to someone at a social event and I realised that I was talking to an unbeliever.

I had checked my breath and was sure that there was no spinach in my teeth so it must have been my profession that she objected to. You see, we sales professionals often have to deal with a reputation which, in my opinion is unfair. I try to change it with every unbeliever I meet but it’s not easy.

Many people think selling is an unscrupulous job (not profession) where it’s purveyors push products to consumers who really don’t want them. The most common cause of this poor reputation is the dreaded Cold Caller. Cold calling fails in 99.9% of the time because there is rarely a need for the product or service and even if there is a need there is no Trust between seller and buyer. Cold callers know the chances of success are low. Their answer is to make lots and lots of calls annoying the vast majority of recipients along the way.

The most inspirational speaker on Sales I have ever seen was Jack Daly. See http://www.jackdaly.net for more information. He summed up the successful Sales transaction which anybody selling (or buying) would do well to remember. Jack says “Successful selling is about the transfer of Trust”. It is a fundamental lesson that Cold callers ignore and which annoys those of us who prefer a different path to Sales success; the path based on developing relationships.

Relationships take time to develop. That is obvious but it is something that many salespeople choose to ignore. “I am under pressure to achieve my targets this quarter so I need the orders now”. Cold callers talk about “Kissing a lot of frogs” which they hope will turn into princesses or princes. That only happens in fairy tales.

What sort of organisation is yours? Do your sales managers pressurise your sales teams for short term goals or long term relationships? Is your business looking short term or wanting to remain the partner of choice for your clients for years to come?

A sales tortoise is likely to pay dividends over the long term rather than the short term hare.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn on January 29th 2015

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